Southern United The JourneyFan

National Women's League
Sunday 22 October, 2017
Memorial Park, Palmerston North
Attendance : 70

The Women's National League looks very interesting this season. The teams all look very close and it's very hard to pick a winner. Last week on twitter I made these predictions

1. Capital (cause they are the best :-) )
2. Canterbury United Pride (the experienced ones - won 3 of the last 4 titles)
3. Auckland (on paper look the best and haven't lost players to the U20s like last season)
4. Northern (never a team you can write off)
5. WaiBOP (good team but very little changes from last season)
6. Southern United (Not so good team, but very big changes from last season)
7. Central (good team but can they make the step up to National League)

To be honest I really have no idea about where the teams will finish, I hope Capital win it, but I think Canterbury United will probably do it again. Auckland are the strongest on paper, while Northern are always a threat and will be keen to avenge last season when they missed a top three place thanks to a 90th minute goal from WaiBOP.

Central's Hat-trick hero, Meisha Boone The JourneyFan

Southern United have changed as well, a new coach in Terry Parle, and only six players remaining from last season, the core of their team come from the Dunedin Technical club, who won the Football South league unbeaten and also made it to the semi finals of the National Knockout Cup, a first for a Football South team. They are training four nights a week, and last week they recorded a historic win as they beat Auckland 3-2, the first time ever they have beaten them (and only their eighth win in 14 seasons of the WNL).

Central are heavily dominated by W-League club Palmerston North Marist, with 15 of the squad of 25 coming from that club as well as coach Simon Lees.

Southern United's win against Auckland intrigued me, and along with the opportunity to see ex Capital players, Mikela Hunt & Emily Morison in action, I decided to travel to Palmerston North for this game. 

I could have stayed home and watched it as Central are joining the increasing number of federations and teams who are streaming their games live on the internet, but my photos won't have looked any good if I did that. (but if you can't make a game check out the club or federations facebook or twitter feeds and you should be able to find a live stream)
The Outside Broadcast Unit - eat your heart out Sky! The JourneyFan

It was clear from the start that Southern United were a much improved unit on last season and their extra training was paying off and they seemed to have the slight edge early on, but Central are an experienced side as well and weren't allowing Southern United to get  near their goal and it was Central that got the breakthrough when Meisha Boone chipped Tessa Nicol in the Southern United goal to make it 1-0 after about 30 minutes and they took that lead into half time.
The second half was similar but Central were starting to show a bit more experience and weren't needlessly giving the ball away as Southern United tended to do a bit too much of. Central made it 2-0 when Meisha Boone got a foot on to a cross and the ball trickled over the line after Tessa Nicol had come out for the ball and missed it. Just when it was starting to look as if Central had done enough, and with only 15 minutes to go Southern United forward Eleanor Issac pulled one back and it was game on. As they pushed forward to look for an equaliser Central broke and forced a corner. The corner found Meisha Boone who completed her hat-trick as she slammed a header into the back of the net.
Central's Courtney Norman avoids teammate Mackenzie Barry The JourneyFan

Southern United will be disappointed that they didn't come away with a draw, but they have improved a lot, they still have a bit to go, they seem to need a leader on the pitch as alot of the time they were all looking at each other waiting for someone to do something. 
Central will be happy with the win from a tough game, especially after their 5-1 hiding from Northern the week before. I think they are going to be similar to last season, they may pick up a result against a top team (they held eventual champions Canterbury United to a draw last season) but they will struggle with the step up from W-League to National League football.